Tuesday, December 22, 2015

LUPUS MOON #31 - "The Same, But Different--Which, Somehow, Isn't That Different"

Remember back when I made the (latest) decision on the form of "Lupus Moon," and I decided it would be a novel? Yes? You didn't get too attached to that idea, did you? I really hope not.

Yeah, you know what's coming next...

I just don't think novel writing's for me. Not at this time, anyway. Don't get me wrong; I don't doubt that I can do it. I just don't... feel it. I sat down to work on the project last week and the entire time I was in front of my monitor I kept finding myself drifting off, wishing I was pursuing "Lupus Moon" as a comic. I mean, the story was actually speaking to me--telling me what it wanted to be and yet I continued to try and convince it to be something else. I wasn't getting much work done at all...

So I sat. And thought. And analyzed my reasons for my decisions. And came to the grand realization that all my talk about the financial necessities, the feasibility of pulling a comic off as an indie, and--perhaps most embarrassingly--not wanting to work with others was just pure and utter bullshit.

And it was the worst kind of bullshit--the kind perpetrated by fear.

Why not pursue the project as a comic? If the only reason is money, then, quite frankly, I'm not trying hard enough. Time? Sure, it'll take some, but who am I kidding? Novels don't just happen overnight. Or over a week, a few weeks, a month--or, hell, even a few months. Some novels take over a year to be written or longer. Either way, this wasn't going to be a speedy process, so my impatient ass is just going to have to learn to deal with it.

Besides, "Lupus Moon" isn't the only project that I want to bring to life via comics. As is stands, the plan is to develop two intellectual properties simultaneously--"Lupus Moon" and the newly re-titled "Infernal Youth" (formerly known as "Darkness Walks"--a title that will be used for yet another property). I actually thought about developing three or four projects to come out the gate with, but I have to crawl before I can walk (if asked, though, they are slated; I just won't be working on them in any real capacity for now).

So yes, I'm going whole hog on the comic route. "And that's the bottom line, 'cause Stone Cold said so!" Or he would, if he were here. And cared. And knew who the hell I was.

I can do this. All I need is the nuts to try.  To be fair, I did say that "Lupus Moon" would exist as a comic book someday--

It just looks like that day will come before it exists in any other medium.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

TLATOAW (The Life and Times of Abigail Waller) #1 - "Gettin' Money"

You can see my other two posts dealing exclusively with my webcomic here and here.

"The Life and Times of Abigail Waller" (TLATOAW, for shortsies) is going really well. As of today, there are 56 installments, and I even managed to sell my first piece of artwork!

A fan hit me up on Twitter and asked about buying an 11x14 print of Abigail for a friend who, according to the fan, is Abby's doppelganger. This caught me off guard, as I wasn't prepared for any kind of sales at this point: I'm just glad to be getting the webcomic out on a regular basis. It took me several days, but I managed to get the print made and sent out to my buyer. I didn't charge a whole lot, but I made a nice profit from it. What's even more is the fan made an extra donation to the cause, for which, of course, I personally thanked her. I hated being caught with my figurative pants down, but at least now I have an infrastructure in place for if/when someone else wants to buy anything Abigail.

The craziest part? The little bit I made on the print is more than I've made in the 15 years I've been writing screenplays. In fact, counting a bounced check I received for an option payment on one of my scripts, I've actually lost money writing on spec. Yeah, it's like that.

I don't know if I'll sell any more Abigail merchandise any time soon (at some point, I'm thinking of compiling the comics into a book), but it's just great that there are folks out there who are enjoying my work. It makes putting the comics together that much more enjoyable.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

LUPUS MOON #30 - "World Tweaks; Let's Write This Sucker"

I did some tweaking to the world of "Lupus Moon" this past week.

More like rule-changing, really.

You know how it is when you have something that you fight ferociously to keep because you think it's a really cool concept, even though it just as often works as a shackle and obstacle to what you're trying to accomplish?

No? Um, okay. Awkward...

Yes? Good. Carry on.

As it stood, the full moon in my world lasted three nights. I know that astronomically, the moon is actually only full on one night--more exactly, for a split second on one night. But I was never down with having my werewolves transform on only one night. How in the hell would I write a convincing story with that without completely restructuring the basic premise I'd had in place for years? Call it laziness, but I just wasn't willing to do that. On the other hand, I never really gave credence to the concept that some authors have adopted where their werewolves can transform at any time. I felt like that de-emphasized in importance of the full moon, and I wasn't ready to be that radical with my story. At one point, I had written in where a werewolf, under certain extreme circumstances, would be forced to transform regardless of the moon's phase. These circumstances included rage, dire hunger, fear for one's life, and heavy sexual arousal. That alone opened up some flexibility in storytelling--each book wouldn't have to be centered around the three nights of the full moon--but, in working with the outline for the story, it still wasn't enough.

The fix? An amalgamation of ideas. First off, in the interest of astronomical correctness, the full moon will no longer last three nights. It will only be one night, which means that, like tradition, there will only be one night of each month when an experienced werewolf--also called "lycas" in my world--undergoes an uncontrolled, non-negotiable transformation. Notice, though, that I said "experienced." That's because there is a caveat. When a person is bitten or scratched by a lyca, that person will undergo their first transformation within 24 hours, no questions asked, regardless of the time of month (a concept gleaned from an existing story, but I can't remember which). This means that the neophyte lyca must learn to fight the change, whether on their own, or with the help of a veteran werewolf, or face becoming the beast on a daily basis. And even if they do, there's still that one night when even their best won't be good enough. Imagine the story possibilities if, for some reason, someone never mastered this control--be it because they simply lack the will--or because of some psychological defect.  In addition, I'm keeping the transformation-triggered-by-extreme-condition bit. But the coup de grace is that, outside of the aforementioned times/situations, I'm doing a complete 180 and canonizing that my werewolves can transform at will, thus making them a danger 24/7 (they are strongest at the full moon, however).

All this serves to blow the hinges off what I can and can't do with my stories, while opening up numerous doors thematically. These changes, along with a handful of story ideas/adjustments, allowed me to finish up the latest version of the outline, which leaves me with nothing to do but finally start a draft. Yeah, I know I said that last time, but I mean it this time.

Wish me luck. This is new ground for me, so I'm hoping that I'm making this a lot harder in my head than it's really going to be. I don't expect things to get easier from here--not by a long shot. But I do hope to have a lot of fun, 'cause if I'm not having fun--

Why even bother?

Monday, November 30, 2015

Kev In Demand?

You know, it's weird. Now that I've gotten some momentum going creatively, other opportunities are coming my way...

I spoke with one of my film buddies tonight--a real cool guy who calls from time to time just to see how I'm doing. Anyway, toward the end of the call, he casually mentioned that he was reaching out to his writer friends and offering to let them write an episode of his new web series, and extended the same offer to me. I quickly accepted, of course, primarily because of the honor of being asked, but also because I've never worked with this friend in any capacity, so it was an opportunity to rectify that.

However, that's not the only "non-Kevin-originated" project that's come my way. I've also been asked to help craft another web series with an actress friend. I'm a lot more involved in this process, basically serving as the head (read: only) writer, director, and co-executive producer. And even more recently, I've spoken with a local author about shooting and editing a trailer for her upcoming book, with an actor friend who appeared in a short I co-directed some years back serving as director of the trailer.

All of this, mind you, is on top of two shorts I'm rewriting and would like to do in the coming year-- "Revelation" and "The Reparations Squad." And, of course, there's still "The Life and Times of Abigail Waller," which is going as strong as ever, and "Lupus Moon," which I'm looking to start the next draft of this weekend.

I'm not sure why this is all happening now, but I'm very grateful for it. And I hope it keeps coming. It looks like it's going to be a busy 2016, and the timing couldn't be more perfect as I'm feeling confident and creatively refreshed.

It's just a good moment, and I'm ready to embrace the challenges that come with it.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


A close friend of mine for many years lost his father recently. He was a man who was very cool to me in the handful of times I actually spoke with him at length, and had an awesome spirit about him. Suffice to say it really made a huge impression on me.

I was honored to be asked to be a pallbearer at this man's funeral, and although I was so absorbed in making sure I did everything right that I didn't get that last, prolonged moment at the coffin to take in the body (I got my glances, though), the thing about these moments is that they have a way of making you reevaluate your own life and determine if you're doing what you should be doing - what you're meant to be doing. In my case, one of those things is filmmaking. And no, I'm not doing it.

Filmmaking is something I established long ago (1992) as what I wanted to ultimately do with my life. It was my goal all throughout high school and college. It's what I got my Bachelor's in, and why I chose the University of North Texas over Prairie View A&M University when I knew I would've loved nothing more (outside of filmmaking, of course) than to hit the field as part of the "Marching Storm" alongside another close friend of mine from high school. It was who I was, and yet, I've spent the better part of a decade running from it. There's plenty of reasons why, but at the root of everything is one, simple, overriding emotion: fear.

Sure, I've had motivation to shoot something here and there over the years (and have), but it was always fleeting, quickly struck down by anxiety, anger and frustration over past failures and the unyielding desire to not have to deal with the annoyance of having big cinematic dreams in a film community that thinks - and works - small (I never wanted to go to California full-time; the dream was always to build something here in Houston). But at the end of the day, it doesn't matter what explanation (or excuse, depending on how you look at it) I give - I'm not doing what I'm supposed to be doing - what I've wanted to do for over two decades now - and it's time for that to change.

I've been talking with a few folks recently who present themselves as people that might be good to build something with. I want - and need - a team (a "coalition," if you will), and will be looking to put together such a collective in order to move projects forward, whether they're mine or another artist's. I know this will be easier said than done - and I know there will be more moments where I'll doubt whether or not I can do this myself and want to focus on something I'll think easier to accomplish, but the interest is there. The fire still burns, and I can't give up now. I have to try and see this through or else I'll wind up an old man full of regret - or worse, will pass on and have nothing to show for my time here.

I can't have that. I have people who love and support me, and believe in me - even when I don't. I'll need to lean on them instead of worrying about the ones who'll laugh if and when I fail or turn their noses up when I ask for help. Though it seems the naysayers outnumber the supporters at times, I know that's not the case. And as long as I know I have folks in my corner, I can keep fighting into the later rounds.

My friend's father, along with being an inspiration and example of true manhood, was also a deeply religious man, so this is apropos: when it comes to whatever talent and ability I may have, in the words of the old and oft-recited hymn -

"This little light of mine... I'm gonna let it shine..."

Thursday, November 19, 2015

A New Moneymaker in the Works? or: Kev's Gotta Eat, Too

I've put it off as long as I comfortable could, but the time has finally come...

I need to figure out how I'm going to make money. Unemployment only lasts for so long, and for me, that time is coming to an end pretty soon. So what is a committed, 9-5 rat race-hating creative like me to do?

The obvious answer is to find a way to make money doing what I love. I love writing, but um, yeah... ain't nobody paying me for that (yet).

But I also love filmmaking - so much so that, even when I'm at my most frustrated with the local scene in Houston and a good number of the people that populate it and say "I'm done," I, somehow, always find myself coming back. The interest is still there. The story ideas aren't going anywhere. But without the financial resources, manpower, and, most importantly, support, how am I to make the kind of headway I've always dreamed of? How am I supposed to get anything done? Any images created?

Well, that last part isn't as hard as it sounds. Photography is the creation of images, and the forefather of motion pictures. I also happen to already have most of the equipment needed to pursue that creative avenue, should I choose. And choose it I have.

I have every intention of building a business out of it (I even have a name - KBS Digital Media), but right now I'm in the "exploratory committee" phase of things: making lists of what equipment I'd need, what insurance policies would be best, watching tons of YouTube video tutorials on everything from "photography 101" to software and post-production tips, and planning to take online courses to expand my basic knowledge of Bridge, Photoshop, and After Effects, as well as introduce myself to Lightroom. Basically, everything I need to know to approach this opportunity intelligently and prepared, with realistic expectations.

I'm excited, of course - but at the same time very nervous. I need this to work, and I hope it does, lest I find myself back in the dreaded rat race. I know it takes time to build a business and the best thing would've been to start on this long ago, but I was taking time to sort out what else I wanted to do creatively and figure out what steps I would need to achieve those goals. So, as the saying goes, "Whaddya gonna do?"

I do love creating images, whether it's with words, or actual pictures, and I already have a bunch of ideas for themed photoshoots beyond the standard portraits, weddings, or event coverage. This could be really fun if it works out. Forget about a house with a white picket fence, a car, a family with 2.5 kids and a dog. Getting paid to do what you love? 

That's the real American dream.

Monday, November 16, 2015

LUPUS MOON #29 - "Moonrise Imminent"

After a barely productive, truncated remote writing trip to my local Panera Bread on Saturday (I was sent packing by the relentless air conditioning), I finally finished reworking the story this evening, using the "KS 1000 Story Development Sheet" - a plot development tool of my own design (i.e. aggregated from other sources).

Now that the adjusted story is mapped out, the plan is to begin (re-begin? I mean, I did start a version before) writing the first draft on Thursday. I'm very much looking forward to it, which is a blessing to be able to say after the seemingly limitless revisions, changes, and tweaks, but I must admit I am very daunted by the prospect of having to distill information, notes, dialogue, sequences and plot points from numerous files and handwritten documents into one cohesive manuscript. But I want to wrote the book and it has to be done, so, in the words of the immortal Al Bundy -

"Let's rock."

Thursday, November 12, 2015

LUPUS MOON #28 - "Re-Re-Re-Re-Re-Redevelopment"

Now that I'm looking to bring "Lupus Moon" to the world via prose, the first thing on the list was to take a long, hard look at the story and make sure that what I had was what I wanted to stay with.

It wasn't. Not completely, anyway.

Although the main idea never wavered, and Alex stayed the same leather-clad ass kicker she was always intended to be, the supporting cast has gone through a tremendous amount of changes. Different names, genders, ages, professions - you name it, I'm pretty sure I did it. So naturally, in looking at what I was working with, I decided to make a couple adjustments.

Thankfully, however, they're small. I'm reverting one supporting character, Baines, to a previous iteration that calls for him to be a complete stranger to Alex when she meets him. At one point, they were going to have a past together, which would strengthen their relationship in this first story, but given how I wanted things to play out, it was better if I went in a different direction. I still love the idea of a character popping up that Alex has a past with, but now that story bit will go to a newly-named character, who will also have a daughter that Alex is very familiar with. I'm not sure at what point they will show up, but it's down the line for sure.

Another change I made that has proven monumental in helping solidify things is de-powering the effect of silver on werewolves a bit. The problem was that silver, as initially written, was severely, and always without question, lethal to the beasts. One bullet was all it took to kill a werewolf, which meant that, in order to have a decent level of conflict or danger for Alex and the town of Weeping Springs (the town in which the story is set), there had to be a large number of werewolves with which to contend. Thing is, Weeping Springs is a small Colorado mountain town, so I was forced to come up with a reason why an army of werewolves were holed up in such a place. That led to, I felt, rather contrived plots that actually go against the wolfish pack nature of the antagonists. Wolves - and, by extension, werewolves - travel in packs; there's no way multiple packs would converge on a small town in the middle of nowhere and be subjugated to the rule of one particular alpha without battles to establish dominance. Making it now to where silver can kill a werewolf with one shot (if placed in the perfect spot, and only if the bullet remains in the body), but nowhere near a complete absolute, opens the door for buttloads more conflict, as now the creatures are much harder to take down, which means I don't need as many. So, instead of an amalgamated army of packs descending on Weeping Springs, I can keep the werewolf number to a much more manageable single pack of 9-10.

There are numerous other small changes I've made in the service of working these new concepts into the existing story beats, but there's no reason to go into them now. Suffice to say, though, that as I progress, the story feels stronger, and much more realistic, if that makes sense. And, if it doesn't, it's all good...

I just need it to make sense to me long enough to get the story locked once more and move into the drafting stage. Then, I'll know if I really have something here...

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

"The Life and Times of Abigail Waller" Turns 50 (Kinda)

I just put the finishing touches on "The Life and Times of Abigail Waller" #50.

Man. Pretty cool.

I can't say I never thought I'd get there. To be honest, I never really though about it that much. But it is a milestone, and one that I'm very proud of. Not too long ago, this was just a failed web series that was sitting on the proverbial shelf, waiting for the time that it might see new life.

However, there's no time for resting on laurels. I have a lot more story to tell and I'm looking forward to the next 50 comics - and well beyond.

Monday, November 2, 2015

The Flip that Almost Flopped

One of the dangers I have with talking with others about plans I have for projects is that, often, those plans change within the next day or two. Most often it's because my confidence is fleeting, and one day I'm feeling very high about my chances of realizing a certain project a certain way, and the other, I'm not. Very often it has to do with a lack of motivation, or my tendency to second-guess everything I do (bad habit) or my desire to "make the perfect choice" and not screw up, lest someone throws it in my face. The again, the greatest reason for my wishy-washyness is probably summed up in one word: fear. I just don't wanna fuck it up and wind up spending a ton of time and energy on one route when another would have proven fruitful faster.

Last week, I wrote about how I was considering a chapter book treatment for "Lupus Moon," along with continuing to realize it as a comic book series. Things were looking good. I was feeling strong and confident...

Then the next day came. 

For some reason, I started to second-guessing the prose concept. Do you really want to do it? How long would it take? You love comics, shouldn't you go that route if that's what you really love? You don't read a lot of novels. What sense does it make to write one? Then, to make matters worse, I lost interest in realizing the story as a comic. It was enough to question how I would pull it off, but something else to just say "screw it" altogether.

I've really been annoyed about my back-and-forth tendencies for a while. More than anything, it leads to "paralysis of analysis," and nothing gets accomplished. After that day or two last week, I made the decision to just sit my ass down and work on something. With "Lupus Moon" stagnated, I figured I'd brainstorm on another idea. I previously mentioned my interest in creating another web series with either a superhero or supernatural slant. I let one of the ideas roll around in my head and realized that I had done precious little world-building on it, so it made sense to take some time and flash it out some more. One thing led to another and, next thing I know, I'm considering creating it as a TV series. 

That lasted for maybe a night. 

As I worked on it more and more (and looked at the practicality of getting the work out there, the timeline for it, and whether or not I'd maintain ownership in my own creation), I began to think of it as a series of novels, along with "Lupus Moon" and a few others. Basically, an expanded version of my ideas from the week before, but with a different property at the lead. This current concept, currently called "The Coldest Night" (about a detective who meets a vampire after stumbling onto a case that exposes her to the world of the supernatural), is still something I might play with as a web series should I continue to move on that (I've done a little flipping on whether or not I'm really going to get back into filmmaking - I'm very interested, but it takes work - and others - and writing novels is just plain less taxing - and singular), but it's feeling really good as a novel at this point. After a few days' work, I've greatly expanded the story's world, done some heavy development on the two main characters, and am about to start developing the story for the first book. 

Where does this leave "Lupus Moon?" I'll get back to it soon enough, but I'm planning on making yet another adjustment to the story - primarily to the supporting characters (there was a death planned that I no longer want to have, and characters that I want to save for larger roles down the line). Afterward, I'll give it another go, but I think working on something fresh right now is a better choice.

At least there's movement on that front.

Monday, October 26, 2015

State of Affairs

A lot has been going on, and a lot hasn't.

Let me explain.

When I last posted, I had re-christened "Lupus Moon" as a comic for, like, the 30th time, with the reason being that I wasn't enjoying the prose experience. Now, before you get alarmed (more like terminally annoyed), "Lupus Moon" will still be a comic at some point, but it just may make a stop at "Prose Land" before it gets there.

Yes; I'm re-considering a chapter book treatment for the story. Why? Simple. Because it's plain cheaper and likely to reach the audience quicker. And because I have a bunch of other characters/stories I want to work on. As I've been working on the story, I've been doing a lot of reading about indie comics, reading indie comics (and some from the majors), and following certain creators through social media. What I've noticed (and it makes sense given the finances involved) is that it takes forever for indie comic producers to get new material out. I'm not talking about indies like Dark Horse or Image, I'm talking regular folks who are putting their own book out by themselves or through small collectives and footing the bill themselves (or, just as often, it seems, through crowdfunding). I have read initial or mid-story issues from folks and waited an obscenely long time for the next installment (in most cases, I'm still waiting). I'm relatively new to following stories on  a monthly basis, and, although I never thought I'd do so, I've become acclimated to waiting a month to continue a story (it helps that there's a lot of stuff I want to follow). But waiting several months between issues or longer?

"Ain't nobody got time fo' that!"

I then realized that, just as these books are taking so long to come out, there are creators on the other end who are being held up from working on other projects. Or at least completing them. And that's where part of my problem lies. Besides the practical matter of not having a job currently and the costs of putting together an independent comic book, I have a lot of stories I want to work on. I can't afford to spend a few years working on one arc, shepherding it through the writing/penciling/inking/coloring/lettering/printing/distribution process while trying to juggle other projects. I mean, I could, but it would greatly limit my time for other projects and slow my output.

And cost me a metric fuck-ton of money.

On the other hand, working in prose is free until it comes time for editing/printing - even less so if I offer the works digitally. It also requires less people to execute, as in me, myself, and I. Therefore, if the work just isn't happening, I have only one person's ass to kick. I love the idea of not having to worry about my project being delayed or jeopardize because of the actions of other. I've been there a few times already, and let me tell ya, it ain't cool. I can also turn over work more quickly. Not that I'm just going to sham my way through some manuscripts and toss them on the market without rewriting or editing, but let's face it - it takes less time to write than it does to draw. That's why comic artists should be respected at the highest levels. Their work is more time intensive and, without it, you got no comic. Simple as that.

I haven't made an official official decision that I'm going back to prose, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to at least give it another shot. I'm even thinking of writing the stories in installments and serializing their releases - basically mimicking the format of monthly comics. This would allow me to get work out even quicker, and get feedback on what's working and what isn't. I might find out an idea is fatally-flawed or just isn't interesting to the reader before I put all the time it takes to write a full novel into it. That would be extremely helpful.

In other areas, "The Life and Times of Abigail Waller" is going great, and has even been featured on a couple blogs. I'm into Season Two of a planned six-season run, but as long as good ideas keep rolling in, I'm more than happy to accommodate them. I even had someone ask if I was going to be at the New York City Comic Con this year. This was a big moment for me, because I see the same question asked of actual, real, professionally-accomplished comics creators. So to feel on the same level as those good folks (if even for a moment) was an awesome thrill. And yes, I do hope to/plan on attending next year - maybe even with a collected edition of the webcomic. That would just be too damn cool.

Along with all that, I've also re-found my mojo for filmmaking. I even recently finished rewrites on two shorts - only to ultimately decide no to move forward with them. But that's fine; one may resurface as a feature down the line, and the other will be folded into another feature idea, which I'll be working on developing. I'm also interested in developing another web series, but this one would be more in line with a geeky tendencies, like a superhero story or something supernatural. I have a couple ideas - one of which I may also develop as a TV pilot to shop around. I mean, why not? There's also the possibility of co-producing another web series with a friend who came to me with a pretty intriguing setup, so that's one more log to toss on the fire.

So, yes, though I don't have a lot to show for it now (except the webcomic - go check it out now!), a lot has been going on. I've put together a schedule to help me keep things organized and on track, and I look forward to pushing some things across the finish line so that I won't be one of those folks who only talks about doing something --

I'll be doing something.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

LUPUS MOON #27.9 - "Issue #1--Redux"

After a mountain of delays for one reason or the next, I'm finally working on rewriting the script for Issue #1. I'm 7 pages in so far (goal is 22), but things are going to get a little trickier as I replace existing material with new stuff while trying to keep the same page length. I'm worried about whether or not it'll work smoothly (I'm too new at writing comics to have a "feel" for it yet), but all I can do is keep moving forward and knock down issues as they arise.

When this is done, I'm probably going to breathe a huge sigh of relief and take a couple days away from it before even thinking about working on Issue #2 - but at least I will have enough done to start commissioning some artwork. Part of me wants to wait until I have the entire six-issue arc written before approaching an artist, but I think that's more a fear-fueled stall tactic (Will I find an artist? Will I be able to afford them? Will I like their work? Will they like me? Will they leave me hanging halfway through? Will this thing die before I get anything finished?) than anything...

Saturday, September 12, 2015

LUPUS MOON #27.8 - "Finally..."

Long day, but FINALLY finished version 1,469,206 of the story (feels like it, anyway). I'd have to say it's the best version yet, but time will tell. I'll set the project aside for a little bit to get some distance from it; come back in a few days and see how I feel about it before breaking down the pages for issue #1.

But for now, I'm a VERY happy camper...

LUPUS MOON #27.7 - "Distillation"

As crazy as it looks: distilling material from four previous outlines into one. Actually, there are a few more in the stack to the left, but they don't contain anything crucial that the others don't already cover. I might be dangerous once this beast is tamed - again...

Friday, September 11, 2015

LUPUS MOON #27.6 - "From the Ground Up--Again"

Re-examining/reworking the story from the ground up. I feel like I've done this 1,000 times already, but there are small elements that don't play well together - and we all know how small problems can merge to form the Voltron of issues. Every brick has to be solid, every link in the chain doing it's part...

Thursday, September 10, 2015

LUPUS MOON #27.5 - "Inquiries"

I've had two folks ask about the progress on "Lupus Moon" within the past week. Gotta get on it. Folks are actually interested in this project...

Saturday, July 25, 2015

LUPUS MOON #27 - "Re-Re-Re-Re-Re-Rebirth"

No, that title isn't meant to visually recreate a DJ scratching a record.

Since the last post, "Lupus Moon" has gone from a comic book, back to a novel, and back to a comic book.


I wasn't going to say anything about it initially; folks would find out when artwork dropped, or I casually mentioned a script instead of pages. But, I pride myself on providing transparency for the five or six fans I may have, so if it means exposing my entire twisted, sordid process, so be it.

The deciding factor for going back to the four-color world? I tried writing the novel version and just wasn't enjoying it as much. It was cool, don't get me wrong (any type of writing is cool to me), but I couldn't shake the feeling that I wanted to see "Lupus Moon" as a comic. I kept envisioning the pages, seeing Alexandria come alive in my mind, and wanted to make that manifest. I wanted others to see the cool images I had in my skull. And since I don't have the resources to make the story a movie (as it was originally conceived circa 1999), a comic book was the way to go. It's not as financially safe as writing a novel (a key factor in turning away from the four-color world), but dammit, it's what I wanted. And, at 37, it's past time I start pursuing what I want instead of what I think I can get.

So yeah, "Lupus Moon" is a comic again.

I've reworked the story for the first arc already (from an already reworked version that would've been the novel), and I've even reached out to a few artists regarding character design and rates. The difference this time is that I'm fully ready to accept that this will most likely be a one to two-year process from conception to finished product (if I'm lucky). In the past, I've been starving to have something completed to show people, and that lead to some decisions that I later regretted. Besides, with the webcomic going strong, I'm able to satisfy that need for completion (not to mention the script for a short I recently completed, and another I'm chomping to get after).

I wouldn't be so stupid as to promise the format for this story will never change again (hopefully, if anything, I'll just add other formats to the comic one), but I can say that I don't see it happening anytime soon. I'm simply content, and at peace with, the way things are looking.

And that's a great place to be.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

LUPUS MOON #26.99 - "Breaking Ground"

Actually broke ground on the novel tonight. I didn't get much done, a three (well, really, more like two)-page prologue (yeah, you read that right, a prologue), but progress is progress.

I actually had a new idea for a prologue after having tossed the last one out. I don't know, I really got hooked on the idea of having one (I guess it makes me feel official or something), and couldn't let it go until I came up with something I think works. And it could still wind up getting tossed.

What I have is crap, but at least I'm giving myself - with a ton of effort - the permission to suck on the first pass and just get something into the computer. After all, "writing is rewriting." And, at the end of the day, it just feels good to finally move forward, no matter how small I feel the step may be...

Monday, July 13, 2015

LUPUS MOON #26.97 - "Reconciliation"

Reconciling the series bible. With all the changes I've made, there's information in there from multiple versions of the story. I'm not necessarily tossing out the old material, but I've come up with a way to designate it as not belonging to the current, working vision. I think working on this will "reset' my brain a bit, and give me a clear, focused idea on what this story - and it's greater world - really is.

And that prologue idea I had? Yeah, it's officially dead.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

LUPUS MOON #26.95 - "Best Laid Plans"

I hate it when I come up with an awesome, earth-shattering twist, only to find out there's no logic behind it that would make it work. I've spent two days trying to come with a way to overcome it, but ultimately, it just might have to go.

Oh, and the prologue idea I had a couple days ago, and spent over a day researching names for? Looks like that's going the way of the dodo as well.


Friday, July 10, 2015

LUPUS MOON #26.9 - "Patience"

Trying to be patient while continuing the world building process. Taking longer than I perhaps should researching Bulgarian names, but I have a werewolf council to flesh out, and the names have to sound just right. At this point, though, I'm not sure if it's perfectionism or masochism...

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

LUPUS MOON #26.8 - "Remodel the World"

Started to put some words down for the prologue, only to learn that I needed to go back and do a little bit of extra world building first. No problem, as it's only going to enrich future storylines. Better to do it now than to have to try and go back later, when the new concepts would've really helped things along...

Monday, June 29, 2015

LUPUS MOON #26.7 - "Alternative Outline"

Finished the "alternative outline" for a novel version of "Lupus Moon" and I must say I really like what I came up with. I even had an idea for a new prologue that not only adds a little something to this story, but sets up a brewing conflict that can play out over the course of the next several (hopefully) books.

I would start writing tonight, but I'm tired and want to kick things off with a fresh brain. So until next time...

Thursday, June 25, 2015

LUPUS MOON #26.6 - "Rethinking"

Re-thinking the project once again. Time and feasibility are issues, and I'm really thinking a novel might be the best way to go. I've also had some new ideas that would drastically change the story as it was, as I might want to hold onto a character that would've died in the first story for a later installment.

To investigate these ideas, I think the best course of action would be to write a separate, alternate outline. That way, in case I decide to go back to what I previously had, it'll be there waiting.

Monday, May 18, 2015

LUPUS MOON #26.5 - "One Down"

Just finished the first draft of Issue #1! I'm extremely excited and accomplished, but I don't know if I should move on to the next issue, or rewrite Issue #1 first. Oh well, I'll figure it out!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

LUPUS MOON #26 - "Rebuilding"

The script for the first issue of the "Lupus Moon" comic book is coming along well.

I'm currently on page twelve of the script, but page ten in terms of the actual book. I'm very much enjoying the process, and I'm finding it a lot easier than I expected. I'm not sure why I ran from comic writing the last time around; I can only chalk it up to the unfamiliarity of working in a new medium and getting used to the process. Also the realization that this is going to be a long process, so I can jettison any ideas and fantasies of "blowing up" with this project anytime soon. The fact of the matter is I feel like I'm going in the right direction with this property and comics is a medium I absolutely adore and have for a long time. That love - and the anticipation of seeing and holding my first completed book - is what's going to fuel me along this journey.

Something else I've enjoyed about this process is the level of freedom and comfort I've had with editing the story. The first arc is planned for six issues, so the space constraints call for me to lose some of the material that previously existed in the screenplay and only focus on the meat that moves the story forward. Usually this would result in mass anxiety and repeated attempts to cram everything in anyway. After all, I took the time to write it, can't let it go to waste, right?  But with acceptance of the medium and its structural necessities comes an understanding that it can only be done the way it has to be done - and if I really want to do it I'll make whatever adjustments are required. It's that simple; I'm just happy I adopted it sooner rather than later.

I haven't been on social media much about the book, either, which is a good thing. I'd rather have something to show the next time I post about it, so that's another motivator to keep moving forward, since I'm so excited about this book. Comicpalooza is next week, and I squee on the inside when I think of how cool it would be to have something to display or give away at next year's show. It's not an official goal, but it is something to dream about and shoot for. Who knows? Might just happen.

But not if I don't get to work. So until next time...

Friday, May 1, 2015

LUPUS MOON #25.5 - "Issue #1"

Working on the script for Issue #1. So far, so good. I feel like I'm getting the hang of things somewhat; the hardest part comes from adapting material half written in prose and half written in screenplay format into one, cohesive document. I look forward to the next arc, where I can start writing the story from scratch in ONE format.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

LUPUS MOON #25 - "Redefinition"

Well, I took some time and thought about it, and - perhaps against better judgement and common sense - have made the decision that I will pursue realizing "Lupus Moon" as a comic book series.

I've already broken down the story into what will be a six-issue arc, with any future stories becoming separate arcs. Once the individual issues in each arc have been released, I'll seek to collect them in trade paperbacks, effectively making each arc its own graphic novel.

The first time I considered this, the idea was to put out the full graphic novel up front. However, I think serializing it will give me a chance to get work out relatively quicker, which will allow me to gauge if there's enough interest in the story to keep going (and keep spending money). I know it'll be a longer process given the time necessary for the artwork to come together, but I think in the end it'll be worth it. And besides, given my love of comics, how awesome would it be to hold my own work - in graphic form - in my hands?

There'll most likely be some kind of Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign once the time comes, but for now, I've got a lot of writing to do. This does feel right. I just hope I can make it happen.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

LUPUS MOON #24 - "Reconsideration"

In talking over my issues with the book last night with my boo, she asked a simple, yet right epiphany-enducing question - if I like to read novels.

I told her I do, but it's been forever since I read one, and used to read them a lot more when I was younger, but for some reason, just stopped. We agreed that getting older and having jobs played a part in it, but outside of that, I haven't been a huge novel reader.

But I LOVE reading comics and graphic novels.

This, of course, got me re-thinking the idea of "Lupus Moon" as a graphic novel. It's an idea I love, but one I abandoned because of the costs involved with art and printing - not to mention it puts me back in the situation of having to depend on others to get the work done, which is something I've become extremely leery about. But, in the end, it feels like a good way to go, and it would get me back into a form of writing akin to a screenplay - which I do sorely miss.

I'm not going to make any rash judgements, but I am going to take some time to think about it more and maybe play around with a script file. See how it goes...

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

LUPUS MOON #23 - "Dark Night of the Soul"

Finally got back to the book after taking some time away to develop/prep other projects. Gotta admit, I'm, pretty concerned. I finished the first chapter, but it absolutely, unequivocally SUCKS. It's too short, too fragmented - the action is bare bones without a lot of fluff. In short, it reads more like a screenplay, which this story originally was (it doesn't help that I was translating beats from the old script into the chapter).

At this point in the game, I don't want to start second-guessing whether or not this should be a novel or screenplay, but it's just not moving as smoothly as I thought it would. It feels like I'm fighting against something. I'm wondering if it's the fact that this should remain a screenplay. Problem is I want to get something complete and out to the public, and with the current climate in Hollywood, an unproven project without a pre-built fan base just isn't going to get a lot of attention (one of the main reasons for turning "Lupus Moon" into a novel).

Needless to say I have to figure this thing out. I keep trying to fit a square peg into a round hole and tell myself if I just keep pressing forward, it will get easier, as I've spent the last 15 years writing screenplays and have to "adjust" to writing prose, but I'm wondering if the difficulty I'm facing is because I'm going against what this should be.

I'm just really lost at this point.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

"The Life and Times of Abigail Waller," or, "Once Again for the First Time"

I haven't worked on "Shadowfox" in a couple days, but with good reason. I was finalizing the development of another project.

Yes, another project.

I hinted at it in another post, but today I made it official: my first web series, "The Life and Times of Abigail Waller," is making a return - as a webcomic. Anyone who's a fan of the medium knows just how popular and expansive the world of webcomics has become. And with advances in technology, even those not blessed with great artistic ability (yours truly chief among them) can join in the fun.

Plus, it makes sense, given my comic book nerd-ish tendencies.

The rebirth of "The Life and Times of Abigail Waller" will be realized using Pixton.com, a cool-ass website where folks can make their own comics for free (or with a paid version for those wanting to use their works for limited commercial purposes). Once completed, the strips will be posted on the series' flagship site, www.abigailwallerseries.com, every Thursday, starting with the series premiere on April 23. Those who are Facebook and/or Twitter inclined can follow along with the project's progress here and here, respectively.

I'm very excited about this new venture, and I hope you'll at least check it out. It's going to be a ton of fun for me, and something I can add to my roster of projects in progress without losing a great deal of time (fun fact: the debut comic is already done; I was able to knock it out in just a couple hours yesterday).

I'll do some more comic-related work this weekend, updating sites and Facebook pages, before diving back into "Lupus Moon" with a side order of "Shadowfox" if things get dicey. But for now, this feels like a nice lineup. And who knows? If I'm lucky, maybe instead of just attending Comicpalooza next year, I'll be on a panel discussing my comic and others (I definitely have others planned).

That would, unequivocally, rock.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

SHADOWFOX #8 - "Locked and Loaded"

You never know what day is going to be awesomely productive; you just love it when it happens. Knocked off the outline for the first "Shadowfox" novel today. It was a monster "during the work week" writing day, and now the book's ready to go to draft.

I'll be toggling between this book and Darque Marque Press​' "Lupus Moon," with the latter getting the start. That way I'm constantly working: when one hits a roadblock, I can hop over to the next and keep moving forward. All this, plus the potential webcomic thing (which I'm closer to making an announcement on).

I'm just ready to start churning out work, and I'm elated to be at a point where I can shift back into that mode. As a top WWE superstar's theme music states, it's "Time to play the game..."

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

SHADOWFOX #7 - "All Gross, No Net. All Good"

It was one of those days where you got a lot of "gross work" done, but in terms of "net work," you actually didn't go anywhere at all...

I didn't add any new beats to the outline, but I did do a good bit of cleanup on what I already had, as well as made a few critical changes to the franchise bible. In the process, it cleared up a bit of writers block and gave me a deeper understanding of my hero.

That, in of itself, makes this day a win.

SHADOWFOX #6 - "Building the Series, Pt. 3"

Finally finished the franchise map for "Shadowfox."

Outlining for Book One resumes tomorrow. I'm glad I took this detour, though; working through the various storylines for the entire series allowed me to come up with ideas and interactions I never would've thought of otherwise. It should make for a much better and immersive read.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

SHADOWFOX #5 - "Building the Series, Pt. 2"

Another monster day working on the "Shadowfox" "franchise map," a listing of various characters and the course of their stories over the book series. It's been a huge undertaking, but also hugely rewarding, as I've come up with so many ideas for the series that I wouldn't have otherwise.

My heroine's going to suffer some major bumps and bruises along her superhero journey and I wouldn't have it any other way. This will now be an integral part of any book I write, and I look forward to putting it to practice with other Crescendo and Darque Marque projects.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

SHADOWFOX #4 - "Building the Series"

Spent all day working on the "Shadowfox" series, plotting out how many books there will be and their (tentative) titles, along with certain plot points for each book. It was a lot, and there's a ton more to do, but at least it's going to help me track subplot and character development throughout the series. I still hope to finish outlining Book One this weekend, but we'll see. What matters most is that the project is moving forward.

Oh, and by the way, we're looking at eight books so far.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

SHADOWFOX #3 - "Target Acquired"

Well, it's settled. "Shadowfox" will be a young adult novel. I'm a bit nervous about this, but the story and character I have built falls into this area, so I'm up to the challenge. The good thing is now I can examine every aspect of the story and make sure it is optimized for the projected fan base, since I have an idea of who my target is. That should provide comfort and clarity as I move forward in bringing this thing to life.

The story is moving back into the outline stage, as it was previously designed as a serialized comic series. Now that it's going to be a single volume, it gives me the chance to go back and revisit ideas that I'd taken out for the sake of getting a "fast start," and it'll allow the story to unfurl in a more relaxed, chronological pace. Basically, we'll see Shadowfox come to fruition from the beginning - unless I decide to go ahead for the fast start and cover the origin afterwords. But at least I have the option to do so without risking losing the reader due to a "slow first issue."

SHADOWFOX #2 - "Who's the Audience?"

Doing some research, trying to decide if "Shadowfox" will be a middle grade or young adult property. I dreamed of doing something that I could put in little girls' (and boys') hands, but I also have a distinct age for the character in mind and the situations she will encounter, which suggests I may be writing for more of a 13-18 crowd.

Decisions, decisions...

SHADOWFOX #1 - "Progress Report"

I haven't talked about "Shadowfox" on this blog since ten months ago this very day. The project hasn't been completely dormant, though, and now, with plans to write more prose, I'm already prepping the next franchise to kickstart alongside "Lupus Moon."

Less than a month ago, I posted on the Facebook page for what was then called Crescendo! Comics, saying that "Shadowfox" would be realized as a novel (it was almost a comic again, and still might be one day), and would be developed under sister shingle Darque Marque Press. Well, the winds of change have blown again; "Shadowfox" is going to stay under the Crescendo! name, and we've expanded the branch's name to Crescendo! Books and Comics. We think this will be a better fit not only for this project, but for others in the same vein (superheroes), the in-development "Pulse" and "Blayze" chief among them.

As with everything, more to come as things progress.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Off My Game Today...

I'm supposed to be working on "Lupus Moon" (I'm five pages in), but all this overt racism lately has got me pissed and disgusted to the point that it's hard to concentrate on lighthearted fictional entertainment.

Point blank, I'm fucking angry.

I keep trying to figure out a way to channel this rage. I feel like I should say something; make a film about it or something. Make a statement the best way I know how. But so far nothing has come together, just bits and pieces of concepts. I'm gonna keep at it, though. Gotta get this out of me some way.

Maybe I should call my brother and hit the gun range this weekend...

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

LUPUS MOON #22.5 - "Fuhgeddaboutit"

Never underestimate the power of a good night's sleep. I stayed up late last night working on some stuff for another venture and I'm really paying for it today. I'm tired, sluggish, and have a headache. On top of that, I don't have the focus needed to work on the book. I've written five sentences before calling it quits.

I've taken some sinus medication for the headache (also have pressure behind my nose), and I've Pandora playing rock music with a mug full of coffee in front of me, but it's doing little good. Since I'm stuck at the computer for the next 2.5 hours with the day job, I'm going to switch things up and do some brainstorming for my "Shadowfox" superhero concept. I can brainstorm when I'm tired (it's mostly just letting the music take my mind places and jotting down notes), but trying to write coherent, creative content? 


Monday, March 16, 2015

LUPUS MOON #22 - "All the Eggs in One Basket"

After getting caught up with Twitter promotion for the book over the weekend (I felt it was smart to start building an audience now, as opposed to waiting until the book was done), I was finally able to transcribe my handwritten outline to the book file on my computer. So now all my notes and thoughts are in one nice, neat, organized place. Great thing about it is it gave me a chance to take in the whole story in a relatively quick sitting, allowing me to get a feel for how all the parts work together. First of all, I'm just glad to have a working story from beginning to end (no small feat), but I can say I do feel very confident about what I have. At the very least, it'll be very fun to write.

I finished this while handling the dreaded day job (boo!), so I'm going to take a break before starting the actual draft. It may even be tomorrow before I get to start, as I have some Twitter promotion for another ventured scheduled after the gym this evening. Keeping busy - but busy doing what I want to do. I'd have it no other way.

Oh, and if you want, you can follow the books progress on Twitter: @lupusmoonseries.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

LUPUS MOON #21.5 - "A Story Deferred"

Intended to actually start writing the book today, but got caught up again with Twitter promotion. Not a bad thing (the number of followers has exploded from 9 to 55 - and counting), but I can't let it take over. Funny thing is, in less than 48 hours, that account has surpassed the Facebook page in followers, which has been around since 2011. Goes to show the power of Twitter. Mark me down as a believer.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

LUPUS MOON #21 - "Follow the Green-Inked Road"

It's been a great day of writing even if I don't touch the project the rest of the day. The outline is FINISHED.

Funny thing is, I tried doing the outline in my screenwriting software (where the book will be composed), but that wasn't flexible enough due to all the existing material already in the file, so I revised an outline built from a spreadsheet that I previously used for "Darkness Walks." That felt good... for all of a day, when it quickly became apparent it be a pain when needing to move scenes around. I needed something even freer - so I grabbed a blank sheet of printer paper and green Pentel medium-point ink pen (I was using different colors for different sets of notes) and started making a list of scenes that I wanted to include, with the intention of numbering them in relation to appearing in the story. Then I went back and added the scenes that were already set... then kept adding existing scenes while integrating new ideas as they cropped up...

And before I knew it, I had outlined the entire book on the fronts and backs of three sheets of good old-fashioned 20-lb. Office Depot copy paper. Gotta say I love the method, simple as it was. And I'm really loving how the story came out. I can't wait to get into the first draft - and maybe share some sample/rough draft pages for my fans and followers - all three of them (gotta work on that)...

Sending My "Tainted" Baby Out into the World

Been a long time since I've done this. But it's done.

Let's hope for the best.

I just sent out 17 query letters for "Tainted." I spent a great amount of the day (including time split with my day job) researching which producers, managers, or agents I'd approach using Virtual Pitchfest, and in the end, I think I've selected a pretty responsive batch. The thing I like about this site is that the companies that are signed on to the site have agreed to respond to each query, whether positively or negatively. No one likes to hear "no," but what I hate worst about sending queries is not hearing anything at all. Plus, each company has the option to provide a reason for their rejection, which is information that can be used to approach them with a different project in the future.

I'm not holding my breath for any of these, but I'd be lying if I said there weren't a couple I'd love to hear a "yes" from - if not for "Tainted," then for paid writing assignments on other projects. It would just be awesome to finally get paid for what I love to do. But we'll see.

For now, I'm dialing expectations down to "meh."

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

LUPUS MOON #20 - "(Re-) Laying the Path"

Reworking the outline for the book. Had a great day; so far, I've got 19 chapters sequenced. Even though the majority of them are in the same order/exist from previous outlines, I still started from ground zero to make sure and and all new ideas were incorporated.

I'm shutting it down for the night and will be back it at tomorrow, but I've left myself some good notes so I can jump back in. Hoping I can finish the outline tomorrow and start writing by tomorrow evening or Wednesday at the latest. Since this is my first novel, and it's not restricted by length the way screenplays are, I have no idea how long it will take me to write the first draft. In other words, there's no target end date (though I may institute daily page goals, like with my screenwriting).

I'm just looking forward to getting into it...

Friday, March 6, 2015

LUPUS MOON #19 - "Just When You Think You Know All the Answers..."

This always happens to me. I start working (or, lately, re-working) a story and, all of a sudden, I'm bombarded by ideas that take the story off in a completely different direction. In most cases it's good; it just means I have to go back and start from the beginning building the plot.

That's what I'm facing now. But I think it will make the story that much stronger, so it's my job to investigate it and see where it takes me. I understand now how it can take someone years to write a book.

Best thing about it is I can have multiple versions of the story saved on my computer, so if one version craps out and leads nowhere, I haven't lost my original path. It does get confusing, though, when you want to go back and incorporate bits from multiple versions (hunting them down and all). But hey, I chose to do this, right?

So let me get my ass to work and figure this thing out...

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

LUPUS MOON #18.5 - "Research by Moonlight"

Researching moonlight and werewolf lore late into the night (trying to decide if moonlight triggers my werewolves' transformations, or simple gravity/proximity will do the trick). Was supposed to be in bed 45 minutes ago. Oh well, never can feel too bad when you're "suffering" for your art, right?

Ask me that again when the alarm goes off at in a little over five hours...

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

LUPUS MOON #18 - "Change the Game"

Made a major change to the "rules" regarding how/when my werewolves transform. I tried to be a traditionalist and only had them change on full moons, but then I came up with exceptions to allow greater flexibility in storytelling. Now I've gone full-bore: they can now transform at will (with practice - and excluding full moons; those transformations are non-negotiable).

I'm also wondering if I should continue using the "lyca" term for the creatures. Even though "lycan" existed before the Underworld movies, I feel like anyone who sees that word will automatically think of that film, as it's the one that injected the word into wider pop culture. At the same time I wanted to use something different than "werewolf," hence the coining of "lyca."

I dunno. I'll work on that one...

Monday, March 2, 2015

LUPUS MOON #17 - "First Day Back"

Worked on the outline tonight. I had the scenes sequenced from previous work on the story, but going back in, I felt there a few changes to be made for the sake of flow and pacing. And there's more to come, as my second act is bogged down in too many consecutive talking scenes. I made a couple notes regarding changes to get me back up to speed when I sit down with it tomorrow.

I've also decided to have a prologue after all, but it's neither of the two I originally envisioned (it does use a pre-existing scene, though). I think it'll work really well, and will allow me to use material I thought I would have to excise because it was redundant and slowed the narrative down. Feels like a win-win. Now all I have to do is string a bunch of days like this together.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

LUPUS MOON #16 - "Back on Track"

After loads of mental wrangling, over-thinking, and various back-and-forth, I'm back to working on Lupus Moon as a novel. In fact, I'm planning on doing a lot of prose work, but more on those projects in the future. But anyway...

Did some thinking/planning on the book, and I've decided that it won't need a prologue. It was tough decision, because I have a great one from the original screenplay version, but ultimately I think it would do more damage to the novel than good. What I may do, though, is write the prologue anyway and let a test reader or two review it after the novel is finished and see if they think it adds to the story or takes away from it. That way I'll be able to actually test both versions and get feedback at the same time.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

New Look for LUPUS MOON

On a lark, I decided to finally update the title graphic for the book. The old one was okay, but I was never a fan of how the font made "Moon" look like "Moan." So I went online to a cool site that lets you download fonts for free and grabbed several new fonts. Funny thing is I initially passed on the one I finally settled on. Sometimes, I guess, you have to give something a second look to realize it's the one. Anyway, here's before:

And after:

Me likey. And it's definitely a sign of things to come. (Guess now's a good time as any to mention that I'm moving forward with this as a traditional novel, as opposed to a graphic novel. That little bit of info would help, no?) 


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Helping a Friend Out

Something I've become fairly decent at is creating simple title graphics on Photoshop. I'm no pro by any stretch of the imagination, but I've designed a few logos/graphics that folks have seemed to like.

Here's one I did this past weekend for my friend and budding novelist Erik Dreiling, for his work-in-progress, Conflux.

Not too bad if I say so myself (and, of course, I do). The story is a sci-fi time travel adventure, so I thought something spacy would work - although I'm honestly wondering now if I should've just gone for a blank background instead of the stars. The most important thing, though, is that Erik loved it. So much so, in fact, that he's decided to use it for the cover of his book! So yeah, I just got my first book cover credit. Sweet!

Who knows? Maybe I should study graphic design seriously and open up a side business. Hey, a budding artist needs all the income streams he can possibly get, right?

Friday, February 13, 2015

TEXAS BACKWATER - Prewriting #2

Knocked out the story/franchise bible and beat sheet for TEXAS BACKWATER. This will be a cool, fun-ass script if I can pull it together. Shouldn't be too much of a problem; I've got a strong skeleton to work from.

I'm thinking I'll forgo plotting the script on physical index cards and use use the "cyber versions" in my software. In any event, "TB" is ready to go right after I finish the TAINTED rewrite (which starts Monday).

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

I Hate Nights Like This...

... when I feel like I want to work on something, but can't figure out what. I should work on this, but nah... not feeling it. There's this other project... but I'm not feeling it, either. Maybe I should work on... nah.

It's like I have motivation, or maybe I should say desire -- and none -- at the same time. I'll regret later not pushing forward on something, but, at this moment, I just can't seem to muster up the juice, much less focus or concentration, to be effective at anything.

It's most likely 'cause I'm tired. In fact, that's probably 90% of it. Maybe I'll go to bed early tonight... but I hate doing that. I give up my whole day to the rat race, only to be too drained to work on any of my passion projects?

This fucking bites.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

TEXAS BACKWATER - Prewriting #1

Doing one of my favorite things in the world: brainstorming plot points for a script while jamming to music. Amazing how it unlocks creativity. Woke up this morning with a problem at the core of TEXAS BACKWATER (if you follow my posts, you know to what I'm referring), and wondering how I would expand the story from the existing short to a feature. Not only is the core issue now resolved, but I've got a great idea of how to fill out the story and the subplots/character development to get me there.

Next steps are filling out the beat sheet and laying out the script on index cards - then it's on to either an outline (if I feel I need one) or the first draft. Gotta keep things rolling...

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

TEXAS BACKWATER - Introduction

While taking some time away from TAINTED before beginning rewrites, I've decided to go ahead and start working on my next feature, a horror/comedy called TEXAS BACKWATER.

Logline: On the verge of their illegal moonshine business failing due to drought, two country-fried cousins use water from a polluted pond to make their locally-famous brew. But when the hooch turns their loyal fanbase into a pack of ravenous zombies, they must destroy the source of the horror before the plague blooms beyond the county line.

This idea was birthed while I was still a film student at the University of North Texas, and the initial 19-page short script was written in one 24-hour period on June 5, 2001. The idea was that it would be part of a CREEPSHOW-style anthology, with a short contributed by myself and one each from two of my buddies in the program. Even though I called my short TEXAS BACKWATER, I thought it would also be a great name for the anthology, as we were three Texas filmmakers-in-training cooking up our own project. But that, unfortunately, never came to pass. I hung on to the idea, of course, and wrote the script for the short after graduation.

The short has been something I've wanted to do since 2001, but it's only been in the last several years that the idea to turn it into a feature came up (I've even thought about turning it into a comic book - an idea I'm still very much open to). I'll be writing it to put on the market, but if the opportunity arose, I'd love to step behind the camera and bring it to life. I just re-read the short script for the first time in forever, and although there's a good number of technical things I'd fix, I'm still impressed with what I came up with at the time. The story's ridiculously silly in the best way possible, and I'm looking forward to expanding the universe. It'll be a few weeks, at best, before I start on the actual script, but I'll be working on the story and characters in the meantime. I'm not sure of the writing schedule I'll use (may stay with the 7-page/day setup for 16 days, or do a 5-page/day routine over 22 days, excluding weekends), but I have plenty of time to figure it out.

TEXAS BACKWATER. "Won't you have a taste?"

Saturday, January 31, 2015

TAINTED - First Draft Postmortem

I said in my Day #14 update that I felt the next day would be a big one. I thought I'd come very close to finishing the draft. I didn't think that I'd ACTUALLY KNOCK IT OFF. Crazy, I went from being behind and wondering if I'd finish it by my self-imposed deadline to wrapping things up a day early. Of course it helped that the script came in shorter than expected: the first draft clocks in at a tight, lean 99 pages. If I was concerned about it being short, there are a couple more scenes I took out that I could add back in, but I don't think they add much to the story and, therefore, are superfluous. In any event, I'm happy with how it came out. I honestly can't remember the last time I placed "FADE OUT." on a feature-length draft of anything; I forgot just how amazing it feels.

The plan is to put the draft aside for a couple weeks before returning to it for rewrites. I need to get some distance from it; regain some perspective. I'll let Shaundra read it, and maybe a couple others who I trust will give me an honest opinion and usable feedback. In the meantime, I'll try to take a couple days off (probably unsuccessfully; I can't see to turn it off right now and feel guilty sitting around doing nothing) before diving into development of my next script - a zombie action/comedy called TEXAS BACKWATER.

TAINTED - Day #15


Friday, January 30, 2015

TAINTED - Day #14

Tacked on 5 1/2 pages today, bringing me to page 84. Nowhere near as stellar as yesterday, yet awesome nonetheless. Why? BECAUSE I SEE THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE MF'N TUNNEL! I got through the last kill scene (came up with a sick capper for it - at least I think it's sick right now) and now it's right into the third act. I could've gotten more done, but I started later than I wanted to and hit a wall where my focus was just plain shot.

It's all good. I still stand a great shot at finishing this thing by Sunday. My schedule, as designed would yield a 112-page script, but I don't think it's going to be that long. We'll see, but for the next project, I think I might go with a 5 page-per-day goal over 22 days - more if I decide to take weekends off. Not sure yet; it's all a work in progress. As long as I keep pushing forward, that's what counts. But for now it's off to bed. Call me crazy, but I feel a big day coming tomorrow...

Thursday, January 29, 2015

TAINTED - Day #13

The empire strikes back! Had a huge day on TAINTED, to the tune of 12 pages! I'm technically still behind schedule (on page 79 when it should be 91), but if I can match this output for the next three days, admittedly a big if, I should be able to hit deadline after all. To make things better, I'm in the middle of my last big kill scene (the climax is pretty much laid out from a previous version; I'll just need to conform it to the current direction), so it should be relatively smooth sailing from here on out. I could really use it.

But still, how awesome would it be to knock out an entire screenplay in the last half of the first month of 2015? Talk about a great start to the new year - and, hopefully, a harbinger of things to come.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

TAINTED - Day #12

Progress was made - four pages - but nowhere near where I'd planned for it to be. With the huge snowstorm that hit the Northeast causing my day job's clients to be out of the office, I was looking forward to a "free day" to really crank it up and make up some lost ground (I work from home). But apparently, management had other ideas and cooked up some busy work for me (I REALLY hate busy work; if it's slow, it's slow. Might as well enjoy it, because when it picks up...). 

As a result, I wasn't able to write until this evening, where it obviously didn't go as fast as I would have liked. I have no idea what tomorrow will bring, and I'm settling into the distinct likelihood I won't have this draft finished by Feb.1. Doesn't mean I won't still try, though. Besides, typing FADE OUT. is the ultimate victory anyhow - not how quickly you do it. And at the end of the day, that's what it's all about. Good night, all.

Monday, January 26, 2015

TAINTED - Day #11

I'm definitely in the "Bad Guys Close In" section of working on TAINTED.

THE BAD NEWS: I only managed to add two pages to my tally. Two. And I had PLENTY of time to work on the script. I did, though, manage to delete at least two pages of extra fluff, so, given that I'm mostly reworking existing material, I actually didn't add anything at all. I'm probably at a minus in terms of net pages.

THE GOOD NEWS: I'm done with that MF'in scene and don't have to see it again until the next pass! This is a slasher script, and this one kill scene was a BEAST to rework. I think I have it, but again, I'll know more when I see it again. Tomorrow's work includes a few lengthy dialogue scenes that are largely pre-written via index cards and notes, so I'm hoping to make up a little ground. Today, I should've wrapped on page 77; I'm stopping on 62. Not horrible, but tomorrow calls for me to reach page 84 to be on schedule. Needless to say I have my work cut out for me. Oh well. Onward and upward...

Sunday, January 25, 2015

TAINTED - Day #10

Another day in the hole; only touched the script long enough to tidy up a line of action and make a note to give me a jump-off point for tomorrow; I'll be starting on page 60, and needing to get through 77 to get back on schedule. Tall order indeed, but I don't have to recoup all my losses at once. If I chip away at it over a few days, I can still complete this draft by my self-imposed deadline of Sunday. Am I worried? Not really. I love a good challenge...

TAINTED - Day #9

It was bound to happen sooner or later. Didn't make my goal on TAINTED today. In fact, I fell off so hard that my two-page lead is gone. My original schedule called for me to be complete through page 63 today; if I had stayed on my current trajectory, I would have wound up with 66 1/8 pages finished. As is stands, I'm conceding the day with 60 pages complete. I'm not even disappointed; I thought about taking the day off completely, so the fact that I got anything done is a win. But yes, I'm officially behind schedule now, and tomorrow's not looking good either (Royal Rumble's going to take up a few hours in the evening). Guess I'll just see how the day goes after getting a good night's sleep, and hope I can pick up the slack in the coming week. Night, all.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

TAINTED - Day #8

Took a helluva lot longer than I wanted it to (and probably should have), but I FINALLY hit my page goal. I knew things would slow down a bit, since I had to work on a couple scenes that called for brand new material (mostly what I've done so far is re-purpose material from an older draft to fit the new direction of the story), but that, combined with the fact that it involved a crucial bit of character development for my lead that I felt I needed to get just right (still not sure if I did or not, but that's what rewrites are for), made for a VERY sluggish last few pages. But I dragged my mental carcass across the finish line, and that's what counts. Time to recharge, then it's on to the next.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

TAINTED - Day #7

Another early update means another GREAT DAY; I've hit my goal for the seventh straight, which is tantamount to an offensive explosion on my end. Seriously, I haven't been this consistently productive since probably 2001 (yes; been writing a while). I'm pretty freakin' stoked. And with me hitting goal this early, best believe I'll be wanting to come back later today to bang out a few more (still need to work on that DVR, though). But hey, even if I don't, I'm still ahead of schedule. Now you know -- and knowing is half the battle. Have a great rest of the day, folks!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

TAINTED - Day #6

An early update. Must mean something good. And you would be right...

I've already hit my 7 pages for the day! Whoo hoo! With that out of the way, the plan is to hit the gym, take the rest of the night off, and catch up on my WWE (Royal Rumble is this weekend). But who knows? If the feeling jumps on me, I might find myself back in front to keyboard, seeing how far I can extend my lead. On to the next! Have a great evening, friends.

TAINTED - Day #5

Got it in, got it done. Met my daily goal on TAINTED, and I'm still two pages ahead of schedule. Had a MAJOR SCARE right before I was done (Movie Magic crapped out on me and my changes, to a certain point, were lost - thank goodness for automatic backups!), but all is good and I'm going to bed happy, ready to get after it again tomorrow. Good night, all.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

TAINTED - Day #4

Started extremely late, but I stayed the course and got it done. Boom - another 7 pages completed. I'm actually ahead of the game; per my schedule, I should be on page 28. I'm sitting at 30. Feels good, and it's nice to see this thing come together. "Keep rolling, rolling, rolling, rolling..."

Sunday, January 18, 2015

TAINTED - Day #3

Hit my writing goal. 3 for 3. Booya!

TAINTED - Days #1 and #2

Hit my writing goal the past couple of days, looking to make it three in a row. Will I make it, with football conference championships being played? You'll have to stay tuned to find out.

My goal is fairly aggressive - 7 pages a day. It's been too long since I finished a project and I really need to light a fire under myself to "git 'er done." At this rate, if I stay on target, I should have a 112-page script in 16 days, or January 31. I've eaten breakfast, done my Facebooking, got my coffee my mug of coffee at my side and Pandora tuned to my "Heavy Metal" channel. In the immortal words of Al Bundy, "Let's rock..."

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

"Just When I Thought I Was Out..."

If you 've read my blog at all, you know I change creative directions like most folks change underwear.

Most recently, amidst mounting frustration, I made the decision to step away from screenwriting/thinking about filmmaking entirely and focus on prose writing - more specifically, novels and comic books. I was feeling quite liberated at not having films on my mind (really, the desire to make films, but not shoulder the burden of trying to put a project together logistically), and was comfortably settling into the concept of being a lone wolf in a room, working on a project that, once I was completed, was done. No crews. No not-being-able-to-find-a-location. No unprepared, undisciplined actors. It was going to be brilliant.

But then it happened.

I received a message through my Facebook account from an acquaintance wanting to see if I had a script in one of three genres. Turns out he has something in the works that could lead to films being made and they're looking for material. I told him that, though I had ideas for scripts in each genre, I didn't have anything ready to show. I went further, saying that I might be open to working on once of these ideas, since I figured his connection would be looking for material on an ongoing basis - to which he agreed.

Great. That's all I needed right now. Something to get me thinking about screenplays again, after I had so neatly - and finally - shut the door on that box for the moment. But it's an opportunity - one I'd feel stupid to let pass without at least taking a whack at. It's not everyday (read: ever) that someone in a producing capacity contacts me from the ether and expresses interest in looking at something I may have. Besides, I was honored to be asked, as I've been in the airspace of this gentleman on only one occasion. I mean, obviously we're connected on social media, but it's not the same thing. If someone shows me consideration in that manner, I'd feel like I was letting the person down if i didn't produce something.

So here I am, trying to talk myself out of working on once project while forcing myself to generate excitement about another. Easier said then done, of course. It's a battle of heart and head, what feels right and what I desire over what's practical. If only I weren't so wracked with self-doubt and fear of failure. If only I weren't so disgusted from my previous attempts with screenwriting and the lack of success that came with it. If only I had more faith in myself. I'm trying as hard as I can, but I was beat down and broken from my previous campaigns; I just can't seem to muster the desire to fight that battle again (writing a script, poring over making it as good as I can, kvetching about every minute detail - only for it to get rejected).

But there's a chance at something on the table. I have to try. Or else, this will get added to the growing list of things I'll likely regret down the line.

I just hope I can get out of my own fucking way.


Friday, January 2, 2015

Back in the Gym (Special Deluxe 2015 Version)

You know how it goes. A new year comes, and you vow to once again lose weight this year. I'm no different. Only thing is, this has been the plan for a while.

I quit going to the gym a few months ago to give myself more time to work on my projects (No, seriously. Why you laughing?). And while I could've been a helluva lot more productive, I'd be lying if I said I didn't make some progress. But even then, I knew once the new year kicked in, I would need to get back at it and make another push to get down to an ideal weight.

I clocked in this morning at a nice, even 250 lbs. Not as big as I have been (that would be around 278), but obviously not small enough, especially considering I had gotten down to around 234 a couple months ago. The plan was to hit the gym yesterday on the 1st, but, well, fuck it, I got lazy and the weather was dreary. But I made it in today and walked on the treadmill at 3.0 MPH for 45 minutes. It was a good start, and it felt great to be back.

The plan is to focus primarily on cardio for at least three months - gradually increasing the speed and incline, or resistance if/when I choose to do the elliptical. I really miss lifting weights, so that's going to get thrown in there at some point. Just enough to get it out of my system. Once I get down to a decent weight (not sure what that is, but I'd like to hit 200 or lower), I'll go more aggressive with the weights to put some muscle on. I really would love to have the hulking, "swole" look, but we'll just see where it goes.

So Day #1 is in the books. I won't be doing daily updates with this, but I'd like to drop in every now and then with a progress report - keep some kind of track of how I'm doing. I'll be working on a workout schedule and diet plan this weekend. And, of course, I need to make sure I get plenty of rest and water. The water part is easy. The rest?

Not so much.